Putting the ‘pro’ in Procrastination

Procrastination… A skill mastered by many college students however, while some people thrive under the pressure of a deadline others crack. While on a lengthy 15 hour drive, a friend and I went about listening to podcasts to pass the time. Among the all of the episodes we listened to and discussed there was one that struck a chord, part of NPR’s TED Radio hour an episode titled ‘Slowing Down‘ from August 2016. The host Guy Raz, discusses a few different TED Talks –and interviews the TED speakers— to  underline the importance of taking things slow and the title’s concept.

Adam Grant, an author and professor of psychology at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, was described as a “precrastinator” the exact opposite of a procrastinator. He talked about the creativity that lives amid procrastinators. Grant went further to discuss that in researching this there was a correlation between those who procrastinate and supervisors ranking these employees as creative. The other part of this research was how those ranked least creatively were people who started and finished assignments early and those who waited until the last minute to do the same.

Knowing full well that many procrastinators, including myself, have definitely been in the creative middle but also at the end, the eleventh hour just trying to finish up to meet the deadline. Where exactly is the balance between working ahead and going slowly enough to keep the creative spark? It’s a hard line to read. And how much does productive procrastination count as actual procrastination?

That last question is the trick to “defeating” procrastination. Productive procrastinating is putting off one task by doing another. Its effective in getting multiple things done without having to truly focus on the most difficult task. It’s about tricking yourself into doing more than you originally anticipated. The original task will eventually get because it has to, the easiest answer will show itself when you’re down to the wire just hoping to hit the deadline.

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